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Old 06-19-2008, 08:27 PM   #1
MatthewM
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Your Top TEN - CHAPTERS

Well, we have the top five characters topic, so I thought this might be interesting, only how about your top 10? If you want you can limit it to five.

What are your (as of now, because we all know they usually change) favorite chapters in The Lord of the Rings?

You don't have to give any particular order. Mine go a little like this:

- The Ring Goes South
- The Old Forest
- In the House of Tom Bombadil
- Fog on the Barrow-Downs
- The Great River
- The Departure of Boromir
- Treebeard
- The King of the Golden Hall
- The Black Gate Opens
- The Scouring of the Shire

That was hard...
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Old 06-19-2008, 11:13 PM   #2
Gordis
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That is hard, indeed, to choose 10 only.

Here are mine (not in particular order)

1. The Shadow of the Past - One of the most interesting chapters giving lots of background information. Nicely written also - not a bit boring, though there are only two people sitting and talking.

2. Fog on the Barrow-Downs - Deligtfully scary!

3. A Knife in the Dark - I love how Tolkien builds the tension. Nightmarish, isn't it? The nazgul are revealed in all their glory...

4. The Council of Elrond - Most important chapter in the story, also allowing us to meet some new main characters. We finally get an idea of the scope of the Quest.

5. The Passage of the Marshes - Love the description of this dark haunted place

6. Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit - One of my favorites from the first reading. Thje contrast of fair Ithilien and the slag-heaps of Mordor...

7. The Stairs of Cirith Ungol - Breathtaking description of Minas Morgul. And the scene of near-detection by the Witch-King is just great.

8. The Choices of Master Samwise - for my favorite orc-talk between Gorbag and Shagrat. To understand Orcs one should only read this short conversation...

9. The Siege of Gondor - for its closing scene, the confrontation between the Witch-King and Gandalf at the breached Gate of Minas Tirith. And horns of Rohan...

10. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields - Fateful meeting of Eowyn and the Witch-King. The prophecy fulfilled - in such a weird way!

Funny - we only have Barrow-Downs in common!

Last edited by Gordis; 06-21-2008 at 03:31 AM.
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Old 06-20-2008, 01:53 AM   #3
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Silmaril Moderator's note

Since this is a discussion forum, we do ask that members who post lists give at least a brief explanation for their choices. Please don't just name your favourite chapters - tell us why you chose them! Thanks.
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Old 06-20-2008, 06:07 AM   #4
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Well, well, well...
  1. The Siege of Gondor:
    I know the arguments between Gandalf, Denethor, Faramir, and Pippin aren't really at the center of the story, and shouldn't merit the first spot here, but I enjoy reading them like few passages else. Also, the development of the siege with the climax of the confrontation of Gandalf and the Witch-king is a nail-biter.
  2. The Shadow of the Past:
    It's amazing how Tolkien turned a chapter which, in essence, is nothing but boring exposition into such an exciting read.
  3. The Bridge of Khazad-dûm:
    The most exciting of the more action-focussed chapters. This chapter draws upon the atmosphere established in "A Journey in the Dark" and makes it unbearably dense. It is maybe the part where danger seems most "graspable".
  4. The Breaking of the Fellowship:
    The dialogue of Boromir and Frodo is more than superb, and Amon Hen is a real breath-holder.
  5. The Stairs of Cirith Ungol:
    The description of Minas Morgul alone would qualify this chapter, but then there's also the near-detection by the Witch-king and Gollum's near-repentence.
  6. Mount Doom:
    The climax chapter. I love the last scenes between Gollum and Frodo and Sam - quite intense.
  7. The Battle of the Pelennor Fields:
    Probably the most fast-paced chapter of all. The chapter contains the death of Théoden and the fight of Éowyn, Merry, and the Witch-king - enough said.
    Death!
  8. The Pyre of Denethor:
    The extension of "The Siege of Gondor" concerning Denethor, Faramir, Gandalf, and Pippin.
  9. The Window on the West:
    I had to include a more quiet chapter here. I have to admit it took me a long time to appreciate the three Faramir-chapters in Book IV.
  10. The Council of Elrond:
    The point where finally everything starts to make sense. At the surface, this chapter is painfully long and contains painfully much of dry talk, but at the second view, this chapter contains more excellent passages than can be listed, and it's a joy to experience how this mess of various accounts given leads precisely where Tolkien wants it to lead.
Sooo many nice chapters left out. *sniff*


Hmm... if more people add their favourites here, I might be tempted to turn it into one great list, giving 10 points for 1st place on each top 10, 9 for 2nd etc.
The result could be interesting.
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Old 06-21-2008, 03:28 AM   #5
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OK, I have edited my post above, inserting some explanations.
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Old 06-21-2008, 11:25 AM   #6
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ok, here it goes

1 The Steward and the King I find this a delightful chapter from beginning-the scenes with Eowyn and Faramir are really touching-to end. And the description of Aragorn's coronation is simply splendid.

2 The Siege of Gondor Especially the end. I still feel shivers down my spine whenever I read the part with Grond advancing.

3 Lothlorien It has to be the best description I've ever read.

4 The Houses of Healing As Aragorn is my favorite character, it is impossible for me not to like the chapter. It's touching, beautiful and very impressive.

5 The Window on the West Mainly because of the talks between Faramir and Frodo, but also because of the description of Henneth Annun.

6 The Shadow of the Past I like the contrast between it and the first chapter of the story. I really was taken by surprise when I first read it. I did not expect things to get so dark so soon

7 The Battle of the Pelennor Fields Another one that can still send shivers down my spine. I also like the song of the mounds of Mundburg at the end.

8 Three is Company Because it has a very nice atmosphere with the three Hobbits walking and all. Whenever I read it I feel the urge to go on a trip myself. Also, I like their meeting with the elves and Frodo's talk with Gildor.

9 The Fields of Cormallen Wonderful and very impressive. Also, my favorite quote is there, the one when the ministrel starts singing. It's really beautiful.

10 The Grey Havens What can I say? The perfect ending to a perfect story.
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Old 06-22-2008, 04:07 PM   #7
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Fine, I will add descriptions soon...

Thanks to all that replied so far!
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Old 06-22-2008, 04:13 PM   #8
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One stands out for me.

The Battle of the Pelennor Fields: because I read it over, and over, and over again, when I was an Eomer addict. It is still an outrageously fine chapter.

"Out of doubt, out of dark, to the days rising
I came singing in the sun, sword unsheathing.
To hope's end I rode, and to heart's breaking--
now for wrath, now for ruin and a red nightfall!"
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Old 06-23-2008, 08:24 AM   #9
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1) The Shadow of the Past
This chapter was hard to get past as a kid but now it's my favorite. Gandalf tells Frodo that the ring is in fact the One Ring that was lost to the Dark Lord Sauron thousands of years ago. Frodo finds this hard to believe and Gandalf tells the whole story. And what story! It's so intricate, multilayered and mindblowing.

2) A Long-expected Party
I love how Tolkien "grounds" his fantasy story in the Shire, a place I, as a reader, instantly feel at home in. It reminds me of the romantic image I've got of the time and place my parents, or rather grandparents, grew up in, based on the stories they've told me. This image is of a less complicated world more in harmony with nature, where competition is less fierce, and the people more colourful and interesting as a result. I know this image is not true and that the nostalgic stories I've heard usually leave out all the dull and downright nasty details, but still.
It's also great that dragons, ents and such are dismissed as fairy tales here, which makes is easier to symphatize with the Hobbits: what happens later is just as mindblowing to them as it is to us.

3) The Council of Elrond
Another chapter I found a bit slow as a kid but absolutely adore now. There are so many backstories and so much history you could swear is was real.

4) A Journey in the Dark
I just love the episode outside the West Gate and the clear images it brings to me. Already inside, we also get some fascinating glimpses into the great history of the dwarves.

5) At the Sign of the Prancing Pony
The Hobbit come face to face with the big people for the first time, and that's pretty scary, especially for Sam. Here, at the wonderfully atmospheric Inn, we also meet Strider, and I always prefered him to the pompous Aragorn.

6) A Short Cut to Mushrooms
Farmer Maggot is great, isn't he? I always get a craving for buttered bread and fried mushrooms when reading this chapter.

7) Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
This chapter is great because of the unlooked for respite it brings for the Hobbits, and this feeling of relief carries through to the reader. They think they are heading straight into the pits of hell, but then suddenly find themselves in a lush spring garden where they even get to enyoy a well cooked meal.

8) The Old Forest
A wonderfully written chapter. You can really feel the antipaty and enchantment of the trees. I'm not a great fan of Tom Bombadill though.

9) The Uruk-hai
Here get a glimpse of various Orc cultures and their grisly habits. I for one would like to learn more about the Orcs. Are they really beyond redemtion, or did they just have bad childhood experiences?

10) A Conspiracy Unmasked
Another short respite for the Hobbits. Anyone up for a hot bath and a few draughts to cool down with?


Wow, that's 9 chapters from FotR, one from TT and none from RotK. Guess FotR has a special place in my heart.
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Old 06-23-2008, 10:12 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip spence View Post
3) The Council of Elrond
There are so many backstories and so much history you could swear is was real.
...it's not real?

I also favor FotR...it has to be my favorite part.

Well, as I stated at the beginning of the topic, here are my current top NINE chapters with explanations. No particular favorite order, just listed in chronological order. I can't decide the tenth anymore.


The Old Forest
This chapter is so close to my heart and it is one of the main reasons Middle-earth is so real to me. There is something about this chapter...I can't really describe it.

In the House of Tom Bombadil
Another amazing chapter, it makes me feel quite homely. I love the coziness of Tom's House and how the Hobbits feel. I also like when Tolkien explains the dreams the Hobbits were having.

Fog on the Barrow-Downs
Can you feel the fright in this chapter? I can...once you reach Bree you feel somewhat safe again, and you know the Hobbits felt the same!

The Ring Goes South
The journey of the Fellowship begins. Such an amazing chapter, and I love when the Company arrives at Hollin, the fight with wolves and Gandalf's magic, and of course Caradhras.

The Great River
This is one of my favorite chapters because not only do I love the traveling and the scenery depictions Tolkien gives, but I really enjoy the dialogue between the characters, especially when Boromir speaks. I also love when Legolas shoots down the Winged Beast, and when the Company goes through the Tindrock, and when they see the Argonath.

The Departure of Boromir
The final farewell to my favorite character in which he repents.

Treebeard
I love this chapter- Merry and Pippin wander into Fangorn and meet Treebeard. The scene in Wellinghall is amazing.

The Black Gate Opens
The Battle before Mt. Doom, trying to buy Frodo time. The ultimate sacrifice. Pippin slays a troll. I love this chapter.

The Scouring of the Shire
For the Hobbits, the whole journey comes full circle here when they return to their beloved home and see what devastation has been done there. They rise up in arms and take back what is theirs. A very inspirational chapter and, like I said, the Hobbits come full circle, from four ordinary rustic hobbits to four hardened indiviuals who know the hardships and endurance of the outside world.

I've realized it's kind of a toss up between The King of the Golden Hall and Three is Company. I love the introduction of Theoden and his realm, but I also love the three hobbit's early journey and their meeting with the Elves.
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Old 06-23-2008, 01:11 PM   #11
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Before starting to write, I listed all the chapters I could include in my top ten. There were 25 of them.

1 In the House of Tom Bombadil
First, he is one of my favourite characters. Second, his house is adorable, especially when you have first spent a day lost in a forest. Third, all that food! Fourth, the stories and all that knowledge he has.
I don't really know what in Tom Bombadil is so appealing to me. Maybe the easy lifestyle and the control over their own lives, which I wouldn't mind myself either. Tom Bombadil is a sympathetic character who knows how much weight to put on things. In his house even the Old Forest doesn't feel so scary anymore - it's only a distant shadow that cannot reach over the bright grass in front of the house. The Black Riders are far as well, and even the Rings loses its power under Tom's magic.
I love, love, love the stories Tom tells the hobbits. In few words it all is described, and the reader gets a clear image of both the things that happened and Tom's opinion of them.
The whole chapter is a mystery - just like Tom and Goldberry. In the house everything goes by its own pace and time doesn't exist in the way it does elsewhere, but it's also different from Lórien.
This is the chapter I love the most, and it's also the hardest to describe in words.

2 The Old Forest
Now it really begins. The hobbits are going to a place unknown for them, a scary place, a place they have to go without the certainty if they ever find out again. I suppose it was much easier to plan to take an unexpected route through the Old Forest than to actually be there with threatening, whispering trees on both sides.
The safest place of the chapter is the Bonfire Glade, yet it only makes the atmosphere more pressuring when the hobbits notice that it has moved. And the same thing happens with other things. Every time there's a place the hobbits should know (take the Withywindle, for example), it isn't where it should be. The hobbits are relieved upon finding it but the oddity of it all makes them scared.
And the Old Man Willow! I admit that, based on the description, I would go and lie my back down to the trunk without a second thought if I ever came to that place. The magic of it is so strong, and also the despair when Frodo and Sam see the other hobbits have been trapped.
The way Tolkien has built the chapter is wonderful. It really is one of the most depressing chapters in the book for me - a chapter I do love, but would always rather be in some chapter else while reading it, and I'm happy when it's over. Quite the way the hobbits must have felt there, too. And then there's the house of Tom Bombadil, which is a safe haven in the midst of a forest dark and scary.

3 Fog on the Barrow-downs
Beginning (and breakfast) in the house of Tom Bombadil. Then there are the barrows, which aren't really scary yet though threatening, and feel only a vague image of the ones Tom Bombadil told of. And then the hobbits have to fall asleep and the night falls, and everything is strange and frightening. You know the barrow-wights are out there, somewhere, you cannot see them but they can you. It's different to think about ghost stories in the bright daylight than in the night, surrounded by fog and barrows. The panic of the hobbits is tangible.
I can but admire Frodo's courage in the barrow. If not anything else, at least the song of the wight would have driven me crazy - and even if I had had the guts to hew at the arm of the wight, I couldn't have started to sing. Hobbits are people one never considers quite brave or capable at the beginning of the book (at least if one hadn't read TH before starting on LOTR, like me), and therefore Frodo's effort is both surprising and great.
This chapter is what I call scary. Until Tom comes and saves them, fetches their ponies and takes them to the road.
And the vision the hobbits have; a vast plain, tall men, and one with a star on his brow, is one of my most favouritest moments ever in all of Tolkien's works.

4 The Grey Havens
What else could I say? Full of life as it is, the chapter is also about giving up, about never being able to wholly repair things. Even though the Shire is cleared up, it will never be the same again, and even though all other people are busy making things better, there are still some like Frodo who cannot fend off the shadows. It is this chapter that eventually made Frodo one of my favourite characters - here it can really be seen how he grew up during the journey.
And of course there's also Lobelia, and she's an admirable character - that unbendingness and independence I like about her.
The last pages are something so sad yet beautiful. I think they were the first time ever I cried while reading a book - and are totally worth being my first time.

5 Three is Company
A long and perilous journey is about to begin, yet the hobbits are still in the Shire where all is safe and the biggest problems are caused by tree-roots they happen to lie on, knowing where they are heading and when they'll next get to eat. Still, the farewell atmosphere is present, especially from Frodo's part. He knows deep inside that he might never get back again, and sentences simple as "Our last meal at Bag End!" get a totally new meaning, a sad meaning. Everything is an adventure - and the first time they hid from the Black Rider was only a part of it. But then, in the heart of the Shire, things begin to get scary, and finally the elves appear as saviours. I have always loved the merriness of the chapter which slowly becomes dark.

6 The Passing of the Grey Company
I like how the dúnedain come for aid, unexpected, and the words they bring for Aragorn. It somehow makes Aragorn both more kingly and more human.
All that stuff about the Paths of the Dead and Isildur's curse is scary, really, as are also the Paths of the Dead themselves. In the movies they were rather ridiculous and had nothing left of their atmosphere in the book. The ride to Erech is maybe even better than the actual Paths.
This is one of those chapters that are difficult to describe. It just is wonderful.

7 The Breaking of the Fellowship
Poor Boromir, and poor Frodo! I pity them both while reading the chapter. Boromir really felt he could save Gondor with the Ring, and it must have been depressing for him that Frodo didn't seem to grasp his point at all. And I love it how he quite immediately after Frodo's disappearance realises what he has done and is sorry.
Somehow the dreams and visions people have in the book always appeal to me, and I really like the whole Amon Hen scene - and how the lovely landscapes are darkened by signs of war. It takes Frodo to distant lands he doesn't see on his way to Mordor, and helps him realise what it is he is fighting for, why he must destroy the Ring.
And Sam's decision to follow Frodo is so touching.

8 The Ride of the Rohirrim
I have always liked this chapter. The riders are going to war and Merry shouldn't be there, they are worried of being too late and are all in a hurry yet cannot move any faster. And then the Púkel-men come to their help, unexpectedly, and somehow the air is immediately more hopeful. It's a glorious chapter: morning comes at last, Théoden's song and ride, the rohirrim's surprise assault on the armies of Sauron, the singing hosts of Rohan. The end of the chapter always sends shivers down my spine.

9 Of Herbs and Stewed Rabbit
I don't think I can describe the main thing in the chapter better than skip spence:
Quote:
Originally Posted by skip
This chapter is great because of the unlooked for respite it brings for the Hobbits, and this feeling of relief carries through to the reader. They think they are heading straight into the pits of hell, but then suddenly find themselves in a lush spring garden where they even get to enyoy a well cooked meal.
Ithilien was next to Mordor and under Sauron's dominion, but it was still more alive. It gives quite a contrast. It is full of beautiful trees and flowers, yet still Sam manages to find the remains of a slaughter place. Forgotten though it may be for a while, the peril is always present, just behind the corner.
But the whole chapter is rather peaceful and calm, and at another time the hobbits might really have enjoyed their stay in Ithilien. Even Gollum is pretty sympathetic there.

10 The Voice of Saruman
As a reader, it's easy to remember that Saruman is only trying to mislead and betray, but I'm not so sure I would have remembered it, had I been there on the stairs of Orthanc. Tolkien really made an effort to make Saruman sound plausible, and I think it couldn't have turned out better. He has both humility and arrogance appropriate for a wizard in his situation.
I like the tension and the fine character portrayals of this chapter. And in the end Gandalf shows his power and breaks Saruman's staff. Although I always rather liked Saruman, that is a fine scene.
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Old 06-24-2008, 07:03 AM   #12
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Quote:
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5 Three is Company
A long and perilous journey is about to begin, yet the hobbits are still in the Shire where all is safe and the biggest problems are caused by tree-roots they happen to lie on, knowing where they are heading and when they'll next get to eat. Still, the farewell atmosphere is present, especially from Frodo's part. He knows deep inside that he might never get back again, and sentences simple as "Our last meal at Bag End!" get a totally new meaning, a sad meaning. Everything is an adventure - and the first time they hid from the Black Rider was only a part of it. But then, in the heart of the Shire, things begin to get scary, and finally the elves appear as saviours. I have always loved the merriness of the chapter which slowly becomes dark.
I completely agree, and your post made me see...I must go with Three is Company as my tenth and final choice!
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Old 06-24-2008, 04:35 PM   #13
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1. Shadow Of The Past
The part of the story were we get our first real grasp of what is going on. I loved the way that Tolkien weaved the story where you hear the grasp clippers outside and then Gandalf's narration of his findings.

2. The Bridge Of Khazad-Dum
I can't believe that this chapter hasn't gotten more attention. This is the only chapter in the book that specifically focuses on dwarfs and their great craftsmanship. Also, it's probably the most emotional chapter in the book for me. It takes a lot to get me to get me choked up, but this chapter had me in tears when I read that Gandalf died.

3. The Siege Of Gondor
A nail biting chapter that keeps you on the edge of your seat wondering if the Rohirrim will make it in time.

4. The King Of The Golden Hall
I don't know why, but I just like this chapter. I guess it's because of the way that Gandalf can restore hope to a seemingly impossible situation. Nothing is too tough for Gandalf!

5. The Old Forest
The hobbit's first adventure together, and they tackle it in typical hobbit fashion: they nearly blew the whole thing!

6. The Black Gate Opens
This is where the reader thinks that all hope is lost, Tolkien does an excellent job with the scene between the Mouth of Sauron and the ambassadors of the free peoples.

7. Helms Deep
Just a very well narrated battle chapter. Gimli's and Legolas' game is clearly one of the most memorable moments of the books for me, especially since Gimli won!

8. A Knife In The Dark
This is where Strider's character begins to unfold, and the danger is high. A tense chapter of non-stop hiding, running, and escaping. Stider also helps us with his description of the Nazgul and what they are.

9. Many Partings
A sad chapter where the fellowship and the hero's of Middle Earth take their different paths and never see each other again. It is a chapter where the reader has a chance to reflect on what has happened over what has happened, of the victories and the defeats that the fellowship have had.

10. Council Of Elrond
All the pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. Here is where the mystery of the Lord of the Rings ends and the book takes a straight forward view until the end.
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